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A mental capacity assessment is used to determine an individual’s ability to make decisions for themselves. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into place in October 2007. The Act was brought in to protect those who have lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves and also to help those who may lose capacity in the future to make arrangements.

Mental capacity refers to an individual’s decision making ability.

Signs mental capacity is diminished:

  • The person’s behaviour raises doubt as to whether they have capacity for decision making
  • They have previously been diagnosed with a condition that causes cognitive impairments. It has been shown that they lack capacity to make decisions.

Loss of mental health capacity can be partial or complete, temporary or permanent.

People can lose mental capacity in some areas, but not in others. Mental capacity can fluctuate over time.

For all these reasons it is vitally important to obtain a thorough assessment with a clinical expert who has experience in Mental Health Capacity Assessment..


There is a two stage test to the Mental Capacity Act 2005

  • An assessment of whether the person has an impairment or disturbance in their functioning. This may be caused by conditions associated with mental illness, concussion or symptoms of drug / alcohol use.
  • An assessment of whether the impairment means the person is unable to make a specific decision when they need to.

The Mental Capacity Act can be used by the Court of Protection, which is similar in many ways to the High Court, but uses the principles of the Act when making decisions.

The Court of Protection may be used for

  • Determining difficult treatment decisions
  • Determining whether an individual has capacity to make particular decisions
  • Settling disputes over the treatment of a person who is deemed to lack capacity
  • Cases involving the care and treatment of individuals under 18 years of age

Mental Capacity Assessments can also be used for Wills and Probate matters – our psychiatrists can assess an individual’s mental capacity to make a Will. This can happen before the Will is made or can be a retrospective assessment, using medical notes to gain an understanding of whether the person was able to act in free will during the time the Will was written.

Please contact our Medico Legal Team via our make a referral form

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